Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oddments No. 1

Weekly bric-a-brac from Padraig O'Morain.

Photo by genewolf (Flickr)

Le chien qui pisse
My meditations in Nice, where I have gone to escape reality for a week, are interrupted by yelps from my wife who is having her cornflakes on the terrace. I look up to see what appears to be water pouring down from a cloudless sky. We hurry to the edge of the terrace and stare at the balcony above. There's the source, a dalmatian dog with his leg cocked, pissing onto our terrace. On his face he has a "what's all the fuss about?" look. The pissing goes on for some considerable time. We wash the terrace. Then, phone calls to our landlady in Switzerland. Finally the dog owner appears, apologetic. She reprimands the dog who remains unmoved. He does not do this very often, she explains. The dog must remain on the terrace while she is at work but he will not reoffend, she promises. Our sojourns on the terrace are now accomanied by frequent glances up to ensure we are not in the line of fire.

A bedouin in Belfast
A man in arabic headgear browsing in a bookshop in Belfast. Black woollen shawl covering head and shoulders. Walking stick with a black and white fabric wound around it. Sunglasses. The scuffed trainers give the game away - this is no billionaire from the Gulf. The bag slung over his shoulders a womans' handbag. An identity cobbled together from what was thrown away and what he knows how to do.

A mysterious couple observed at Grand Central, Manhattan
A couple at Grand Central at night. She is the more striking. Tall, in her fifties, wears one of those FBI type raincoats, black slacks, slip-on shoes that could be a man's. Red hair. It is her animation, her affection for, almost her infatuation with, her companion whom she jokes with, smiles at, touches, holds hands with, that strikes me. She is the taller of the two. He is thin, same age as her, five o'clock shadow, glasses, almost skeletal-like grey face. Skin stretched tight. He wears a trilby and also an FBI-type raincoat. His hands are stuck in his pockets. His face is impassive but now and then he flashes a remark and a grin without actually looking at her. He could be a secret agent. She could be a controller of secret agents. Are they married? She wears a wedding and engagement ring. Are they lovers? They seem like excited conspirators, he holding his excitement in, she letting it out.

Fecklessness World War Two style
Sending the kids to the chipper for their dinner - modern fecklessness and money-wasting? Feckless but not modern. According to Peter Ackroyd's London: The Biography which I'm listening to on CD, kids evacuated to the countryside during the Blitz demanded to be fed on fish and chips, sweets and biscuits. They couldn't wait to get back to the city either. Thousands returned every week despite the bombings.

.....The Buddha's declaration that disappointment, pain and apprehension of pain accompany all human activity like a shadow. Felix Holingren, Tricycle, Winter 2007.

Poems are not made out of ideas. They are made out of words. John Whitworth in Writing Poetry (A&C Black).

An object only acquires worth through memory and ritual. Explanatory notice in the National Museum of the American Indian, Manhattan.

(This is the complete post. Ignore "Continue reading" link below.)
Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

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